The five beers that make up Pale Trial Ein are more different than I expected. Time hasn’t softened them into a similar flavour. Rather the opposite. The difference is more pronounced after a couple months conditioning. A couple Sundays ago Chas was over for a brewing day and we did a side-by-side review of all five.
Before going further into the review a recap is called for. These five beers were all brewed from the same batch. One boil with liquid malt and Victoria Secret hops, and the same yeast (US-05). The only difference was the yeast nutrient and if a Campden tablet was added. That’s it. All fermented at the same temperature, same amount of sugar for bottle priming, same again for bottle conditioning. All of this done to learn. And what was learnt? Let’s find out…
All five come from the same base. There is a clear dark stone fruit flavour up front. Solid amber malt in the middle. Then finishes with a sharp bitterness with the malt background.
The descriptions below are slightly exaggerated to highlight the differences.
Pale Trial Ein 1
The “control” of the beers. With the modern yeast nutrient only.
Aroma is of dark fruit and still subtle. Body is straight forward. The bitterness comes in quite sharply at the end. It is the most aggressive with hop bitterness. Bitter beer.
Pale Trial Ein 2
This one was with same yeast nutrient and a Campden tablet.
The softest flavours of the lot. Hop fruit flavours at the start. A nice easy amber malt body. Not very bitter at all… until the very end and there’s a kick. And that really kills the softness.
Okay, nothing special.
Pale Trial Ein 3
This is the one with the really old yeast nutrient only.
A much lighter beer than all the others. Light and fresh hop aroma. Lighter amounts of stone fruit up front. Body is a bit easier and laid back. The hops at the back are quite lighter and there is a subtle creaminess.
Easy and light.
Pale Trial Ein 4
This is the one with a Campden tablet only.
Very soft aroma. Starts with a solid stone fruit flavour, but not overpowering. There’s a mellow and big dark-ish fruit flavour. There’s a bit of bitter end to this which works quite well to offset the stone fruit flavours.
Pale Trial Ein 5
This is the one with the really old yeast nutrient and a Campden tablet.
Light and smooth rich aroma which is very nice. Starts off very smooth indeed, then the big fruit comes in and works a treat. Darker than beer #2, #3 and #4. Towards the end there’s smooth finish with a hint of bitterness working well with the body.
If I was to match these beers to something it would be a salty or spicy roast meat. Maybe barbecued. Or something fried with spice. You need something to work with the big bitter hops in the beer.
It’s a tough choice between #3 and #5 for best beer. Winner is #5 . Runner up is #3, in third place comes #4, forth is #2 and clearly in last place is #1.
It might seam like a wide range in flavours from the reviews above, and it does feel like that when they’re side by side. If you pick up a #1 or #5 first off, you still taste the same thing, stone fruit hops with amber malt. Then the bitterness takes over. I think there was too much hops. Victoria Secret hops have a big kick which I’ve see it in my all grain and here in the Pale Trial Ein series. Does this make these bad beers? No. But there’s room for improvement. And I’ll work on that.
It has been a really interesting journey with these beers. They’re the end of a mini story of finding my Dad’s old wine brewing equipment, cleaning, brewing, bottling and finally tasting. But the journey doesn’t end. The Pale Trial Zwie beers are ready for drinking. Will need to get into them and write up a review.